A few weeks ago I heard about a new venture, Wingz Academy, being set up by Sam Bell and Aishleigh Docherty of Wingz Theatre Works. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited along to see it for myself and take a few pictures.
Tucked away in Revoe Community Centre two classes were in full swing: dance, led by Sam and Aishleigh; and drama with David Hirst. Teachers and pupils alike displayed the joy and enthusiasm I’ve come to associate with Wingz, and I realised as I finished shooting that I had a huge smile on my face that hadn’t wavered since I’d walked in the door.
I asked Sam about the new venture.
What made you decide to start up Wingz Academy, and how did it come about?
We got the idea for Wingz Academy last year after meeting up with Dave Hirst from Creative Arts & Futures, he had been following the work we do with young people in the community through Skool of Street, and thought that the model of creating quality training for FREE was a great idea. It was Dave that suggested we should offer the same service weekly, as well as in the school holidays.
After a few short meetings last September, we already had a plan of action, as well as the financial support of Creative Arts & Futures. The challenge was to find a suitable and reasonably priced venue. We work in Revoe School in South Shore teaching Dance, Drama & Spoken Word, the head teacher Dayle Harrison was interested in us running the academy from Revoe as a way of engaging more young people from the school in the arts. We decided that the venue was suitable and in a prime location for attending kids who particularly need arts engagement, our first sessions took place on 9 April, and we were full.
Did you get funding? If so, How?
Our initial funding has come from Creative Arts & Futures and the incredibly supportive Dave Hirst. They have kindly supported our initial 10 week scheme. We have also received funding from the Lottery to enable this project to run for at least a year. We have big plans for the academy, so we are committed to searching for funding and support to make sure this provision is sustainable.
What age is it for, and when does it take place?
The age group is 7-19 years. Wingz Academy takes place every Saturday from 11.00-1.00pm.
What do the kids get out of it?
From feedback received from our young people who have participated in previous projects – the key elements that participants get out of this training are:
- A sense of identity & creativity
- A sense of community
- Support and communication
- Confidence and self belief
- Top quality training with committed and reliable instructors.
- Inspiration from others around them
Who else is involved apart from you?
Sam – Dance
Aish – Spoken Word & Physical Theatre
Dave – Funder, actor & drama teacher
Jay Adamthwaite- Beatboxer
Jay Madden – Rap Artist
Karl Hanrahan – Graffiti Artist
Phil Thomson – Music Producer
Where do you see it going? Have you got plans for competitions etc?
We hope that we will continue receiving funding to support Wingz Academy, meaning that the future will be exciting for its young participants. How we see it for now, much like Skool of Street is enjoyable projects which work towards an end goal of live performances. We really hope that it will open doors for all youngsters, regardless of their background. – Inspiration Without Discrimination.
Wingz Academy will not form a competitive group. If youngsters who attend are interested in competing they will be invited to attend FY Wingz dance classes. The academy is more to focus on the merit of creativity and performance.
Through Wingz Academy we are offering young people the opportunity to take part in the arts award scheme as part of our commitment to developing young artists.
For more information about Wingz Academy visit www.skoolofstreet.com
Images courtesy of Jill Reidy Red Snapper Photography. View the full gallery below.
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